Joel Harden MPP / Député, Ottawa Centre

Government of Ontario

COVID Update #39: Email our MP to save a local child care centre from closure


Countries with success against COVID-19 followed public health advice, took swift action, and prioritized child care. This holds true in New Zealand, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Taiwan, and Denmark. 

But here in Ottawa, I was alarmed to learn a non-profit child care centre is slated for closure. On October 15, 2020, the volunteer Board of the Garderie Tunney’s Daycare (GTD) announced it must close given soaring rent costs (now over $14,000 per month, up 150% from 2016).  

Surprisingly, the landlord charging this high rent is the federal government, so I need your help to save the daycare by getting the rent lowered.

Can you email our MP, Minister Catherine McKenna ([email protected]), and ask her to make rent relief at GTD a priority for the federal government? 

I know Minister McKenna values child care, and your support can help make a persuasive case to the Federal Treasury Board. 

It is important that the federal government take action swiftly. Since the closure, another non-profit operator has proposed a tentative plan to operate the GTD, but it cannot do so without a lower rent.

The GTD is one the few child care centres in Ottawa that operates bilingually and also with a French Program. We cannot afford to lose this valuable community resource.

When emailing, please be kind. Remember the person reading the email is most likely a staff person in the MP office, and they value child care as much as you do. I have given Minister McKenna notice that she will be receiving appeals for her help. 

My very best,


Legislature Updates 

Whistleblower Protection for PSWs

I was back in the legislature this week and took the opportunity to demand Premier Ford put in decent whistleblower protections for PSWs, to honour the courage of those who are speaking out to protect seniors and residents in long-term care. 

PSWs speaking out about living conditions in LTC have saved lives during this pandemic, but they risk being punished by their employers for doing so. We need this government to guarantee that workers will not face consequences for saving lives. 

Opposition Motion on Taking Profits out of LTC

Over the last several weeks, our official opposition caucus, led by Andrea Horwath have been unveiling our comprehensive plan to transform long-term care and home care in this province. On Tuesday, we put that to a vote in the Ontario legislature, with a motion to get for-profit companies out of long-term care, and replace them with an all nonprofit and public system, which the Ford government voted down. 

You can watch my comments on that vote here, where I talked about the profiteering in long-term care and the Conservative lobbyists tied to the industry. 

Govt legislation on protecting LTC operators from liability 

The Ford government has tabled a new bill which provides protections to companies and operators from lawsuits related to COVID-19. This move is an obvious attempt to shield this government and for-profit care corporations from accountability in their handling of this crisis. 

More than 1,900 people have tragically died in LTC during this pandemic, shattering thousands of families. We need to honour their lives by ensuring their families can get justice, not by protecting the corporations that let this happen. 

Our official opposition caucus will be pushing back against this move. If you have thoughts on this that you’d like to share with us, write to me at [email protected]

Justice for Abdirahman Abdi 

Many in our community and across the province are hurting after yet another Black man was denied justice, with the verdict in the case of Abdirahman Abdi that came out this week. 

The verdict was not an isolated incident. It is part of a centuries old pattern of deadly and systemic injustice in Ontario and Canada that continues to this day, and includes the recent deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Ejaz Choudry and Anthony Aust. To achieve meaningful, lasting justice and break this destructive pattern, we must fundamentally overhaul these broken structures and re imagine how we keep racialized Ontarians safe. 

The Justice for Abdirahman Coalition is hosting a protest this Saturday at 3 PM, more information here.

Ottawa Police Reform 

Councillors Menard and McKenney have brought forward a motion to Ottawa City Council that seeks to change how emergency response is conducted in Ottawa. The motion calls on the Ottawa Police Services Board to undertake public consultation and produce a report outlining alternative models of community safety response that can better respond to mental health crises, drug addiction and ensure de-escalation where a police response is not necessary.

Find out more about the motion and sign their petition here. 

Support Staff Strike 

Support Staff at University of Ottawa and St. Paul University are currently on strike. I wrote to the UofO President, asking the university to conclude a fair collective agreement with the workers and to withdraw all cuts to staff health benefits. 

You can read my letter here.